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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

226        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

this that Montaigne has no patience with " violence and force."
His objection is not merely that harsh punishments " degrade and
dull a high-born nature," but that they destroy all desire for
learning. It is certainly necessary to make a child endure hardness.
By all means " harden him to heat and cold, to wind and sun,
and to the dangers he ought to despise. Refuse him all softness
and daintiness in clothes and bedding, and in eating and drinking.
Get him accustomed to everything." " But if you wish him to
dread disgrace and punishment, do not harden him to them."
To this theme Montaigne returns again and again, and it is the
last word of his Essay. " The only thing you can do with the
appetites and inclinations is to tempt them. Otherwise you only
make your pupils bookish asses. You may cram them full of
 knowledge with blows. But to make it of any real value you must
not only get it into their minds but must espouse them to it."
(3) The best method of leading a boy to make knowledge a personal
possession is to turn every lesson into an occasion for the exercise
of his own judgment. It is not enough that he should simply
repeat what he has been told. " Knowing by heart is not know-
ledge." From the very beginning the teacher ought to aim at
developing the boy's bent of mind by letting him try things for
himself, sometimes opening up the way for him, sometimes leaving
him to do so for himself. In any case, he should never allow him
to accept anything merely on authority. Where there is diversity
of opinion, let him decide if he can. If he cannot, there is no harm
in him remaining in doubt. What he knows will at any rate be
his own.

Though Montaigne allows a place to the ordinary school tasks
in education, he wishes all serious study postponed till the boy
has had a proper grounding in practical wisdom. The proper
beginning of education, in his opinion, should be made through
intercourse with one's fellow-men. With that in view he re-
commends that the boy should travel and see the world from his
childhood. Foreign travel has many educational advantages. It
introduces the pupil to other languages than his own at an age
when he can readily learn to speak them well; and it detaches
him from the home and allows the teacher to accustom him
to rough living and hard work without interference from the
parents. But these are only secondary considerations. Its chief
value is in the training it gives him in sanity of judgment, by freeing